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Farm Bureau: Agriculture classified as essential businesses, exempt from ‘shelter at home’ order 

–All agriculture operations have been designated by the County of San Luis Obispo as exempt from the Shelter at Home Order that took effect March 19 and continues until April 17, 2020, the San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau announced Friday.

SLO County Stay at Home Order classified the following agriculture operations as “Essential Businesses”, the farm bureau reports:

  • (Section 4b) “Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pest supply, fresh meats, fish and poultry, …”
  • (Section 4c) “Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;”
    (Section 4p) “Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences;”
  • (Section 4v) “Businesses engaged in any form of cultivation of products for personal consumption or use, including farming, ranching, livestock, fishing, dairies, creameries, wineries, breweries, and associated activities, including, but not limited to, activities or businesses associated with planting, growing, harvesting, processing, cooling, storing, packaging, and transporting such products, or the wholesale or retail sale of such products, but prohibiting public consumption on-premises and providing that, to the extent, possible, such businesses comply with Social Distancing Requirements and otherwise provide for the health and safety of their employees.”


“San Luis Obispo County Farm Bureau understands the importance of providing our members with critical information during this public health crisis,” the bureau said. “Farm Bureau and other agriculture organizations sent letters to the County Administration advocating that agriculture be exempt from the order.”

Effective March 20, the SLO County Farm Bureau office will be closed to the public. Staff will still be working remotely and ensuring phone messages at the office will be returned as soon as possible. For urgent matters, please contact Executive Director Brent Burchett at 805-503-0150 (cell) or email

San Luis Obispo County Agricultural Commissioner Marty Settevendemie announced March 19 the Ag Department will maintain essential services to the agriculture industry following the Shelter at Home Order. The department will be operating with limited staffing levels.

Commissioner Settevendemie worked closely with the County Administration over the past week to ensure all agricultural operations were classified as an “Essential Business” and exempt from the order.

SLO County Farm Bureau received word that the Central Coast Regional Water Board will extend the comment deadline on the draft Ag Order 4.0, originally set for April 6. The order, which covers new monitoring and reporting requirements for irrigated agriculture, caps on nitrogen fertilizer applications, and riparian setback rules, has caused serious concern from farmers and agriculture groups in the Central Coast Region.

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